Close your eyes. Picture your favourite city in the whole world. Imagine moving there. That’s my life in Barcelona.
Well, I guess it wasn’t that easy. I’m actually doing my Erasmus year abroad from Leeds University, I just got lucky with my placement.
Although I’m spending my days working in Eixample, I’m living in Gràcia. And I absolutely love it. I cannot tell you how nice it is to leave the hustle and bustle of the centre and relax in a neighbourhood which feels more like a village than a city.
Now is the Moment – Street art in Gràcia
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Prior to moving to Barcelona, two years ago now, I had a three-day trip to cram in as many flat viewings as possible and visit as many areas as possible. Looking back, I was insane to think I could get a feel for the city’s residential areas in just a few days.
Luckily, I chose Gràcia to live and work, which is an amazing area, originally established in 1626 as an independent municipality of Gràcia. The road which joined Gràcia with Barcelona is Passeig de Gràcia, a beautiful wide street running from Plaça de Catalunya up to the centre of Gracia. It is uniquely home to shops reminiscent of New York’s 5th Avenue, but also dotted with some of the best architectural designs of the city. There’s some stunning hotels and rooftops, but the price tag can be pretty hefty.
Further north, at the top of Passeig de Gràcia, the “real” Gràcia starts. To me Gràcia combines the residential bliss with close proximity of the attractions as well as some of the best bars and restaurants in town. Read the rest of this article…
Déu n’hi do, com parla català!
To learn or not to learn Catalan? If you are an expat in Catalonia, you might be in this common dilemma as you constantly hear different opinions about the topic.
In this article I’ll share with you the difficulties, the benefits and insight into Catalan culture and society that has come from knowing it, the reception I’ve received from local people and more.
I moved to Catalonia 3½ years ago and decided to study Catalan after finishing my course in the Spanish language. Obviously, as an expat I also had the same questions and doubts: should I learn the Catalan language, do I really need it, is it practical, will I get into society? In my Spanish school, I heard from many international students that Catalan people are very closed and even if you learn the language, that’s not the way to get into the society and make local friends. Well, that depends. Read the rest of this article…
Barcelona is a city that should be written with capital letters, a place where every single day deserves to be enjoyed. Barcelona is my favorite city to spend my days off, when I do not have to work.
For me, an ideal Saturday in Barcelona is to enjoy the city and visit my favorite places, those where I feel at home and make me feel fulfilled. These places do not always appear in the tourist guides, but they are equally worth it and that is why I want to share them with you.
The best way to start the morning is with a good coffee and a full breakfast on the terrace of my house, with the heat of the first rays of sun and overlooking the streets of Gràcia. I enjoy this even in winter.
Then, in my sports clothes, I start my routine running session in a privileged place: the Park Güell and its surroundings. I’m crazy? No! Early in the morning these gardens are free of tourists and this is the perfect place to practice some sport in the nature, near home and overlooking the whole city.
Views from El Carmel
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Everyone knows the beauty of Barcelona, it’s history, its architecture, its people. It is true that walking through the streets and alleyways of the various neighbourhoods can sometimes feel like you’ve been taken back in time, back to a period of imperialism and decadence. However Barcelona is just as beautiful from afar, if you want to step back and take it all in there are a number of great viewpoints in Barcelona that give you a unique view and perspective of the city.
View of the Collserola from Turó de la Rovira
They all give you a different sense of what the city is about. Whether it’s a waterside vantage point overlooking Port Vell and the luxury yachts cruising into their mooring spots, or the mountain top views from the old Spanish Civil War military bunkers that make the city below look like a cluster of toy houses all piled up on top of each other, there’s something for everyone. Read the rest of this article…